CYBER OBSCENITY AND WOMEN: THE MORALITY OF THE SOCIETY IN THE FACE OF DANGER
Updated: Oct 6
Author: Saffa Khatun, V year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from Adamas University
India is a country of morality and traditions where it is immoral and untraditional to discuss sex. In India, pornography is more immoral than illegal and obscenity is directly linked with morality and decency. With the development of technology, people are forgetting their duties to maintain the moral standards and decency in society and becoming power-oriented day by day with the consciousness of their freedom. Throughout the world, obscenity is a very sensitive issue and since there is no particular definition of obscenity yet, therefore, it is not clear what includes in the definition of obscenity. Cyber Obscenity is a trade of sexually expressed content within cyberspace, through this the offender gives a threat to the internet users. On the one hand, our Indian Constitution gives equal status to women, on the other hand, they are victims of various forms of violence or harassment in society and with the advent of technology the rate of victimization of women also increases day by day and the security of women has become a big question.
CYBER OBSCENITY: MEANING AND DEFINITION
William Gibson was the first who coined the term Cyber in his novel Neuromancer in 1982. The term cyberspace was denoted as a virtual environment within which network computer activity takes place. Cyberspace is a virtual reality and dimensionless place where interactive communication can be achieved without the use of physical senses. Pornography is a term that has a similarity with the word vulgar as well as any offensive morality. The term Obscenity was derived from the word ‘obscene’ meaning 'offstage' and ‘skene’ meaning some potentially. Generally Obscene sexually means offensive and so unfair or immoral that you feel angry. Obscenity is a sensitive topic. Yet there is no specific definition of the word obscenity under any law. Obscenity is any act that strongly offends the prevalent morality of the time. Generally, language, literature or representation dealing with erotic, pornographic and sexually perverted subjects covers under Offline Obscenity. Oxford Dictionary defines the word obscenity as a state or quality of being an obscene and extremely offensive word or expression. Further, it defines the obscene word as the portrayal or description of sexual matters offensive or disgusting by accepted standards of morality and decency. Cyber obscenity is the trading of sexually explicit materials within cyberspace. According to Citron, cyber obscenity is practised by way of hacking the profile of the female member. Then the original photographs posted in the mentioned profile are morphed and the profile name and information was used to send obscene messages to the original profile owner’s friends as well as a larger audience. Though obscenity is not defined in any legislation in India the legislation prescribes obscenity in certain circumstances that constitute an offence.
UPLIFTMENT OF CYBER OBSCENITY
The internet was created in the mid-1980s by the National Science Foundation which funded the fibre optic links that formed the backbone of the internet. Initially, access to the internet was restricted to those who had a work-related electronic mail account on a company-owned computer. The National Science Foundation raised restrictions against commercial use in 1991. Since then the internet has made a wide expansion to take the life of the people to new highs. All the people in cyberspace come together who live far away in the real world. History shows that the relationship between crime and technology is not new. According to Johnson, pornographic and technological developments have had a curious and contradictory long term relationship, one which has involved the internet since the early 1990s. After the innovation of the internet, the availability of the internet becomes very easy for every one day by day with a PC, mobile. In the past society the obscenity was present in the forms of books, magazines but when the internet comes then these obscene materials become easy to access and these are exceptionally close to the clients. The legal status of advanced pornography or obscenity differs from one nation to another, while a few nations boycott pornography these are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bahrain, UAE, Malaysia, India etc.
CYBER OBSCENITY IS CONSIDERED A CRIME
In India, obscene material has long been widely circulated on the internet and it has long attracted comments in India. The term 'obscenity', when used compared to an offence, is not portrayed in any resolutions in India yet certain establishments suggest that 'obscenity' in explicit conditions contains an offence. Section 292 of the IPC explains 'obscenity' it implies "anything which is lascivious or cases to the obscene interest or if its effect is ten to degrade and destroy individuals". Also, section 67 and 67A of IT Act talks about obscenity, these sections are used as tools to curtail this problem which prohibits obscene and sexually explicit material respectively and also give punishment.
The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 keeps revolting depiction from getting women. Section 2(C) of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act describes the profane depiction of women as "the depiction in any capacity of the figure of women, structure or body or any part thereof to have the effect of being foul, disparaging to, or defaming, women, or is likely going to corrupt, ruin or mischief the public moral quality or morals. To handle the issue of obscenity and pornography we have another provision that is Article 19 of the Indian Constitution which states that the state can drive reasonable limitations on the chance of explanation to keep up moral quality and bearableness.
OBSCENITY AND PORNOGRAPHY
Pornography is a more vexed sort of profanity. Generally, Obscenity and pornography are used as comparable to each other in the region of the web. Cyber obscenity or pornography is an inconvenient issue especially due to the differentiation in the commendable farthest reaches of moral quality in different countries. Cyber pornography is unquestionable from other Cyber Crimes like hacking, phishing; basically, this cyber pornography is unquestionable.
WOMEN HARASSMENT THROUGH ONLINE MODE IN INDIA
The Information Technology Act was instituted in India in the year 2000 and from there this Act was again amended in the year 2008 to battle cybercrime but still now under the said Act the issues relating to cyber abuse of women stays immaculate. Digital spaces have become shelters for digital crooks. On the internet women are the most vulnerable targets. The significant kinds of cybercrimes which are coordinated against women are cyberstalking, cyber pornography, harassment through email or online massages, morphing, defamation, obscenity. Different components could be ascribed towards online exploitation of women, in dominant cases, offenders focus on the victim for the sexual objective. Digital sexual maltreatment can even be seen as digital pornography or cyber obscenity. Cyber obscenity incorporates obscene sites, explicit online magazines and the web to download and send obscene pictures, photographs and composing. The photos of women are utilized, transformed and disseminated on the web with revolting stances. The offender may even part messages utilizing foul language. Digital foulness can even be drilled via hacking the victim's profile. The first photos presented in the first profile are transformed and the profile name and data, just as the transformed photos, are utilized to send revolting messages to the victim's companions or the overall population. The hackers may hack her profile and send open solicitations for having intercourse with her. Indeed, even obscene materials can be repeated all the more effectively in new media. While the world is at present fighting with the novel COVID 19 virus, the Indian media and requirement officials are managing another emergency, which, in all actuality, isn't so new. An exceptionally frightening occurrence was brought to see on May 04, 2020, when a bunch of young men, for the most part, school-going teens going between the ages bunch 13-18 years, were discovered to have a virtual gathering under the name 'Bois Locker Room' on Instagram, a broadly mainstream web-based media stage in India, which was being utilized to trade bargaining private photos of minor young girls for the most part from inside the school circuits. The gathering was additionally being utilized for trading unequivocal and disgracing remarks about the minor young girls and exasperated to arranging and examining assaults and different demonstrations of sexual assault. Screen captures of the private talk bunch on Instagram detonated via online media and the news. A year ago there was news that the Maharashtra cyber department has lodged an FIR against the directors or owners of different OTT platforms and websites. These OTT platforms like ALTBalaji, Hotshot, Flizmovies, Feneo, Kukoo, Netflix, Ullu, Chikooflix, Primeflix and different sites had been facilitating obscenity and pornographic substance. Several struggling actresses were a piece of these vulgar substances which transferred on the online stages, however, they won't be treated as blamed because of the helplessness that drove them to be a piece of such demonstration. Social media stages have without a doubt become an indivisible piece of the greater part of our lives and have intrinsically infiltrated profound into the social way of life of individuals regardless of old enough or sex, for trading data and encounters. However, it is important to comprehend that even though online media stages give and work with data trade, they can handle and manage the data shared distinctly somewhat.
Ranjit Udeshi v. State of Maharastra, in this case, the Court explained "obscene" as antagonistic to modesty or decency. The Court also saw that it makes a reasonable limitation on the advantage of the chance of enunciation guaranteed by Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India considering an authentic worry for significant quality or decency.
Samaresh Bose v. Amal Mitra in this case the court held that the norms of morals of the general public, the possibility of "obscenity" may contrast from one country to another country.
State of Tamil Nadu v. Suhas Kutti is the key precedent of conviction under section 67 of IT Act, 2000 in India. In this case, some disgraceful, indecent and aggravating messages were posted about the loss on a yahoo informing pack as a result of which the setback started tolerating disturbing calls. She recorded an FIR and was censured and was viewed as responsible under sections 469, 509 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 and section 67 of the Information Technology Act.
Avinash Bajaj v. State (NCT) of Delhi case, indecent material was set accessible to be bought by one person on the site Baazee.com and offered/transmission of these fastens to a couple of individuals abiding in various bits of the country in a very concise range. The issue was raised whether it was a circulation under section 67 and the site had indirectly disseminated the material. The court held that an authoritative transmission of revolting material wouldn't have been possible without beginning help by the site and subsequently, the site was held in danger under the section.
In this manner, we can conclude that obscenity is a tremendous and major issue across the world and surprisingly in India. IT Act denies the responsibility of this offence and gives exacting discipline to the individual seen as liable for an offence. Profanity is to a greater degree a social underhanded than wrongdoing. It isn't through enactment that we can check or control it. The lone conceivable way out is by expanding and spreading awareness among the majority. It tends to be expressed that legitimate execution of laws alongside open mindfulness and instruction of ladies concerning their privileges and lawful cures can assume a pivotal part in killing cybercrimes from our general public. Such violations can't be controlled exclusively by sanctioning laws. Likewise, just looking from the point of security of the social mores would not do the trick. Advanced innovation has become quicker than the laws overseeing innovation. Subsequently, the current laws miss the mark to handle the circumstance. Women should not be portrayed in this manner. Sexual pictures could lead the issues later on with ladies likewise, digital pornography is wrongdoing. There is a need for the attitudinal change regarding bringing up our children in the families, how we make men regard women inside the family will matter. The good socialisation cycle and good education make a reflection of a situation where men are considerably more sensitive while dealing with women. I might simply want to say that a brain is not something awful to squander. Utilize your brain astutely; sexual entertainment is the incorrect way. Utilize the inner self for shrewd things; that will improve your well-creatures.
i. Ranjit Udeshi v. State of Maharastra AIR 1965 SC 881
ii. Samaresh Bose v. Amal Mitra 1985 INSC 205 24 September 1985
iii. State of Tamil Nadu v. Suhas Kutti C No. 4680 of 2004
1. Avinash Bajaj v. State (NCT) of Delhi 21 December, 2004 (2005) 3 CompLJ 364 Del, 116 (2005) DLT 427 Cyber obscenity. https://digiinfomedia.online/cyber-obscenity/#.YHcVgOgzY2
2. Cybercrime in India are women a soft target. http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-639-cyber-crime-in-india-are-women-a-soft-target.htmw.
3. Safety of women cyber crimes. https://www.legalbites.in/safety-of-women-cyber-crimes/
4. V-behaviorurldefaultvmlo. https://newindialaw.blogspot.com/2012/11/vbehaviorurldefaultvmlo.html
5. OTT platforms websites booked for obscene content. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/altbalaji-and-other-ott-platforms-websites-booked-for-obscene-content
1. Indian Penal Code 1860
2. Information Technology Act 2000
3. Law relating to offences against women, 997-1018, (Asia Law House; 5th edition, 01 January 2020)
4. Criminal Law, PSA Pilli’s (13th edition)